Of course she's wearing her bulletproof vest, but the impact still knocks her on her ass.

Life has a funny way of doing that.

She wakes up in the hospital and the first face she sees is Mike's. "You dumb motherfucker," she croaks out, voice dry and cracked. She tries to kick him in the balls, but she's disoriented and no match for his quick reflexes.

"Hey! They were never going to trade Flanagan for the ransom money. What was I supposed to do?" Mike asks.

Santana swallows. "Let me seduce them."

"You're not that good an actress."

"Is the kid okay?"

Mike nods. "Swears he's a vegetarian now." He seems unsure of what to say next, which is a first since Mike never shuts up. "You—your vest prevented any major damage, but you have some bruises."

She knows she's lucky to be alive. If that SOB didn't have shit for brains he would've aimed for her head. So rather than dwelling on the reality of the situation she says, "Just as long as my tits didn't pop."

"Sylvester wants you back on the job as soon as possible," Mike says, "but take as much time as you need."

It turns out she only needs a week before she goes stir crazy all cooped up in her one bedroom apartment. Downtime just leaves room for thinking and the more she thinks, the more she realizes how lonely she is.

She's greeted with a round of applause once she reaches her desk at the Bureau like getting shot makes her some kind of a hero. There's flowers and chocolates and for once someone brought her Starbucks instead of the other way around.

Sucks she still has to do her own paperwork though.

A month later she's old news; more cases crop up and she has yet to go back out into the field. It feels like she'll be chained to her desk forever until Mike gets assigned to the Miss United States Pageant.

She says no to going undercover at first because…fuck. She's not sure how much she trusts Mike right now and for another thing there are at least a dozen other female agents better suited for the job.

She knows because she helped him search the FBI database for the hottest ones.

But the thing is that they all have families and this is like a huge sting and, well, none of them say yes either.

So she's kind of Mike's last hope.

"Please," he begs her, "think of all the girls in bathing suits."

She scoffs because that is so not the reason she's considering it. Or at least not the only reason anyway. "Nobody's gonna buy that I'm a beauty queen. You said it yourself. I'm a terrible actress."

Mike grins. "That's why we're bringing in a consultant."


"A woman named Cassie July."